Dialogue on What?
By: Daniel Berhe
December 13, 2003

The word dialogue as defined in Standard English dictionaries is to. Formally discuss: a formal discussion or negotiation, especially between opposing sides in a political or international context. Or take part in talk: to take part in a conversation, discussion, or negotiation.

The Ethiopian government and those advocating on its behalf for never-ending dialogue at this stage are plainly asking for reversal of a verdict and must be either driven by ulterior motives or are totally and completely na´ve.

The Ethiopian government in a self-inflicted wound may have drowned into a bottomless hole and cornered itself into a confined space with very little room to breath. If the Ethiopians and their war sponsors understood they were participating in some sort of ritual and wanted to start another dialogue now they will be disappointed.

The moment of truth is here and all parties are obliged to comply with EEBC and its decisions. The three-year time line that elapsed since the end of the war to pursue a settlement based on colonial treaties is called peaceful and formal dialogue. No blood was shed and no bullets were fired at the Hague courts during any of the sessions!

Some Eritreans in the Diaspora (Saleh A Younis and Aradom Eyob, Ogbu Andemariam) and opposition bent to grab power at all cost have argued that it is in Eritrea's best interest to participate in a dialogue with Ethiopia. The question arises what Eritrea will gain from such never ending dialogues? What these gentlemen failed to see is that the dialogue they are suggesting has been what the two governments have been engaged in for the last three years with the help of mediators in round and some times square tables. All that is remaining is to implement the verdict. Both these gentlemen and others argue that Eritrea is weaker at this time due to internal strife and shortcomings and needs to dialogue further or indefinitely to keep the current non- war peace.

Despite errors made and short comings of the Eritrean Government, Eritrea is much stronger, Eritreans are more focused, united; know their enemy's logic than they did prior to 1998. Despite the differences of opinions about the GoE, the Eritrean people know what is at stake, where the weakness are and clearly identify their domestic and foreign enemies.

I believe it is in Eritrea's best interest to avoid such a trap and reject all attempts of border dialogue with Ethiopia. I hope the GoE will make it an official foreign policy to defer the establishment of any relations with Ethiopia until Ethiopia accepts and heeds to the implementation of the final and binding border decision as is without any changes and no strings attached.

Learning from hard and costly experience, Eritrea should only discuss with the international community UNMEE / EEBC and not Ethiopia on the implementation of the EEBC verdict. Yes Eritrea should and will establish limited relations with its neighbor Ethiopia for geographic reasons (no alternative choice here) and will need to be at arms length. The Ethiopian government did not have any qualms with the venue or process of the EEBC and it is abundantly clear that they are just attempting to reverse a final and binding resolution and lessen any legal liabilities for the war. Ethiopia and its sponsors know this very well and they cannot be any clearer than that. Ethiopia's call for further dialogue or calls for alternate mechanism are just old ploys, disingenuous and untrustworthy and blatant gimmickry. Ethiopia was caught red handed. Yes Eritrea should have no part of dialogue on this so called border issues and interpretations with any government or world body so long Ethiopia is illegally occupying Eritrean territories, hindering the return of internally displaced Eritreans to their farm lands and hording illegal immigrants into Badme and other Eritrean territories. Eritrea should only dialogue with the international community on how to implement the final and binding verdict and how much the sponsors of the senseless war will finance war repatriation of all damages Eritrea sustained.